Conversations About Densifying Wilshire Boulevard Heating Up

latimesdensificationheader
Image of a densified Century City, part of the proposal suggested in the LA Times this week to add 1.5 million housing units to Wilshire Blvd.

The Wilshire corridor, from downtown to the beach, started out as a mostly residential street, but quickly transformed into a major commercial and transportation corridor.  Today, as the city struggles to figure out (literal) avenues for current and future residential growth, it looks like Wilshire may be in for a return to its residential roots…but in a way that bears no resemblance at all to its single-family origins.

This week, two key articles appeared on the LA Times Opinion pages, which cast a new light on the current and future densification of Wilshire Blvd.  The first, published on Thursday, November 3, suggests that adding 1.5 million housing units to Wilshire could solve the city’s housing problems, almost in one fell swoop, “while preserving the neighborhood character and natural landscape of the remaining 99% of L.A. County.”

The second story, published in the Times today (Saturday, November 5), talks about the transformation of the Miracle Mile stretch of Wilshire in recent years from a fading old-school retail district to a busy, rapidly up-scaling area of large mixed-use projects.

Taken together, the two stories lead readers toward discussing and thinking about a massive transformation of Wilshire, which has already begun and will accelerate rapidly over the next couple of decades…and which would also surely change the character of our other, Wilshire-adjacent neighborhoods.  The Buzz would love to hear what our readers think about this process…and how far it could/should go.

Is Wilshire the key to solving LA’s housing issues?  What are the trade-offs of preserving an older version of one of the city’s most historic boulevards vs. re-purposing it as one of the most future-oriented streets in the city?  (Or is there a way to do some of both…and, if so, where should the lines be drawn?) What kind of voice can or should nearby residents have in this process?

This is going to be a long, ongoing conversation…which the Buzz would like to be part of.  We’d like our readers to be part of it, too…and we welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

0 thoughts on “Conversations About Densifying Wilshire Boulevard Heating Up

  1. The first article is an interesting thought experiment about where to put the 1.5 million new residents anticipated by 2050. It says “Well, if we want to preserve most of the historic low density housing, maybe we could double down on high density in one narrow subway-served corridor”.

    There’s a lot of merit in the idea – in particular, it offers a way to keep those anticipated new residents from suffering worsening traffic (and making traffic worse for everyone). It might be a useful idea for our toolkit as we figure out where the city wants to go from here. Could we leverage it by requiring those high density developments to provide adequate public parks next to the corridor?

  2. Just because the denser structures are going to require additional parking within the buildings does not solve any of the problems. It is the massive increase in local traffic that severely impacts the surrounding neighborhoods. A recent example is the terrible traffic created while Wilshire was down to one lane or closed completely during thew subway construction. Our local residential streets became unsafe speedways during those times.

    William Dannevik

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